Transcript for Preschool programming and planning – plan Part 3
Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator
Kelly Birket – Early Learning Advisor
Jacqui Ward – Welcome to today's session Preschool Program and Planning. The focus of this part three is planning. I'm Jacqui Ward, the Early Learning Coordinator and I'm here today with my colleague Kelly.
Kelly Birket – Hi everybody and welcome back.
Jacqui Ward – So today's session as you might remember, we already in part one talked about the introduction to the planning cycle. We talked a little bit about observing and collecting data, we've talked about analysing the information and today the next step is really focused in on. OK. Well, what are you going do? What are your intentions moving forward? So it's an exciting area and hopefully you'll enjoy the session today.
I'd like to begin with acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we're all meeting today, so obviously all of us are in different lands in different places. I would like to pay respect to Elders both past and present and any Aboriginal people with us today and acknowledge the wonderful way that Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years have taken great care of our land in our country. And I hope you join me in doing the same wherever you are listening to this recorded session at anytime.
The professional learning that we're working on today links to the two professional teaching standards 6.2.2 is we've mentioned before, and 6.4.2.
The course outcomes are across all of the parts of the series, so there's five parts altogether. Looking at learners, understanding and applying there quality standards of the national quality framework. That's relevant for our preschools. Applying knowledge of child development, early childhood pedagogy and curriculum to plan teaching and learning experiences which enhance learning outcomes. Develop skills to take a plan and reflective approach to curriculum decision making. Synthesise the individual as well as the integrated aspects of the planning cycle. Critique practices, systems, and processes in relation to quality teaching and outcomes for children. So hopefully you've already been, experiencing some learning and growth in relation to those outcomes and today's session hopefully will be furthering those outcomes.
Just a reminder, I'm in terms of the materials and resources that they are within our channel, communities of practice within the early learning teams and there are some precession tasks as per the other parts of the modules of this course, sorry, and they are referred to in that folder, early learning in schools within the early learning in schools, Microsoft Teams. So hopefully you've had a chance to have a look at those pre learning tasks and you also take the opportunity to ask some questions and whatnot in the in the channel. There's an opportunity I guess for you to engage with us as facilitators and with your colleagues to apply that learning. So the precession tasks for part three is a couple of readings. So looking at reading the text surrounding the early years planning cycle within the educators guide. So the diagram that we've been working off throughout these online modules or online sessions is a simplified version of this diagram in the educators guide, so having a look at that and what it means for your work and your understanding of the content that we're covering, particularly obviously in relation to that planning section down there at the bottom right hand corner. We also want you to have a little think about the planning. It is not just about planning for resources and materials, but it's actually thinking about different platforms that learning might occur. So we've encouraged you to have a read of the ACECQA information sheet quality area three, the environment is the third teacher, so the idea that the spaces, the environments that we set up the learning opportunities provide opportunities for learning and for children for that learning to be facilitated in a child lead way. We're going to cover off on some of those topics today, so if you haven't already, read those it is really important that you stop your presentation now and hop in and have a read of those. That would be great.
So, as I mentioned before, we've been looking at the planning cycle. We've been looking at the observing and collecting meaningful, relevant information as being the cornerstone or the foundation for the planning cycle. You can't plan meaningful and relevant, and for deep level learning and complex skills and knowledge building if you haven't collected meaningful information in the first place to know where children are at and what interests and skills and currently knowledge they have. Again, that analysis of learning is really important both for groups and individuals to know what, where is the sort of right level to aim your learning experiences or your plans at. If you think of those theoretical influences, that's really important in terms of Vygotsky Zone of proximal learning, the idea that we are in that right zone I guess of the learning that we're planning for children, so again, this is a rehash of what we've already talked about promoting learning and development at each stage of the assessment and planning cycle relies on each of the other stages being given equal consideration. And in these courses where fine tuning or putting a microscope on each section. But it's really important that I guess, that you thinking about them as a whole as well. This stage of the cycle requires the planning of pedagogical practices and experiences. That will further learning and development, so a real emphasis here, and I'm hoping you are picking it up all the way through. It's about, the learning is the important bit of what we should be writing down and what we should be thinking about. And it's all about this is an opportunity I guess in the planning cycle to showcase what our intentions are and make that learning visible so we have a clear calling out to our families to our authorised officers, to our colleagues to say this is the learning intentions and the teaching intentions we have for our experiences within the preschool.
Kelly Birket – Great, thanks for that Jacqui, I'm going to talk about the first section and it's the why of planning. OK, and as always we return to our key document the early years learning framework and within the early years learning framework it's noted that the document guides educators to plan to promote children's learning by designing challenging learning experiences and interactions that foster high level thinking skills. It's also noted that through planning, educators are selecting to use the most effective teaching strategy for different children. The same strategies not necessarily going to be effective with everybody or at the same time necessarily to extend their thinking and learning. The EYLF (Early Years Learning Framework) also directs us to make decisions about how the role of the educator and how their move flexibly in and out of different roles to promote learning. And finally, identifying the most effective method of assessing learning as well as making learning visible.
Jacqui Ward – So I think again, Kelly, as you mentioned, our guiding document is the earliest learning framework, and so it's really important that we think about, this is what the early is learning framework has set out these we've sort of paraphrased them here, but these four key ideas that need to be incorporated into your planning. So it's really important we're going to step that out to say doing some critical reflection as you work through these sessions and think about does your current planning process capture all of these ideas. Are there opportunities for those interactions to foster those high level thinking skills? You know? Do you have some written down ideas about how you might work differently with different children and this is an opportunity I guess for our individual and group plans to sort of intersect there might be one experience, but it's going to be differentiated for different children.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely it depends also a lot on the time of year because preschool is such a year of growth. What one method or approach that works at the start of the year might not be as effective towards the end of the year.
Jacqui Ward – Sure
Kelly Birket – OK. So this next slide really breaks it down to the basics. For effective planning, you need to know the children and how they learn, and that's what you've done through the first two stages of the cycle you've collected your data. You've analysed that information. You've also got your theoretical background, and your experiences to know how children do learn. You also need to know what to teach, so that's your content knowledge. And then as we just mentioned, you need to know how to teach, what teaching strategies are going to be affective, which children and when. Knowing, children and how they learn is also one of the Australian professional standards for teachers, 1.1.2 notes that at a proficient level teachers will use teaching strategies based on knowledge of students physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics to improve learning. The standards also note that in relation to knowing what to teach, that educators at the proficient level can apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities and finally, in relation to knowing how to teach the professional standards note in 3.3.2 that proficient teachers select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
Jacqui Ward – I think that one too there knowing how to teach Kelly. If we think about the EYLF definition of pedagogy. It's about thinking about, you're teaching, but also the importance we talked about the environment being the third teacher, but also in the early childhood context. The relationships are an important learning component and those incidental times throughout the day throughout transitions and routines and all those other things really all really important about thinking when you are planning. It's not just about those sort of traditional group experiences that you think those are the teaching times, but actually knowing that teaching is happening all throughout the day and that play based program.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely and later on in this recording we will touch on maximising the learning opportunities throughout the day as well.
OK, so we just mentioned for effective planning you need to know your students and how they learn. Know the content, how to teach it and plan for and implement effective teaching and learning. So the standards also state that in the domain of professional knowledge teachers understand what constitutes effective developmentally appropriate strategies in their learning and teaching, and use this knowledge to make the content meaningful to students. It's very much a child centred approach. Without that knowledge of the individual children in your group you're planning isn't going to be effective.
Jacqui Ward – And I think this is an interesting one to where we often come up with in the early childhood space when people challenge by the idea of, well, how do I determine the content if I'm doing, waiting for the children's, interest to emerge the interest is just the vehicle, for the learning of the content. For example, an interest in superhero play could be an opportunity to build awareness of inter relatedness in relation to learning outcome number two. Or it could be an opportunity to develop some oral language skills in relation to learning outcome number five so it's interesting that we sort of still need to focus in on I guess the things that we want to teach, even in an interest based program as well.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely because as a professional you'll know there's things that the children need to learn. The families will have an opinion of what their child should learn at preschool, and so if these things don't arise out of interest, you're planning needs to address them.
Jacqui Ward – Of course, let's not forget there will be things that children are interested in learning as well and skills that they are practicing as well that I think we've already covered it in one of the other sessions to about that why children ask the question why a lot and repeatedly about the same thing and that's one of the ways that they tell you that they are interested to learn about that particular content.
Kelly Birket – Yes, a little bit later in this session will have a look at some examples of using children's interests to promote learning. OK, so maybe now just have a little pause, pause the recording if you want and just think about how you plan what your process is. Is it on your own? Are you doing it collaboratively? And then how is your planning promoting learning? So just pause for a minute and just have a little bit of a reflection on your own planning.
OK, this section we're going to talk about the how of planning and will start with a nice quote again from the early years learning framework. Children's learning is ongoing and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways. Learning is not always predictable and linear. Educators plan with each child and the outcomes in mind.
Jacqui Ward – And I think it really poignant quote there Kelly, that we need to make sure that our planning is focused in again on the learning and that it's focused in on the learning as we talked about the requirements for our planning is that we are planning to progress children along the continuum of the learning outcomes. So that's really important. That's the focus of what you're writing down in your plans.
Kelly Birket – Taking them to the next step, giving them a little bit of a nudge along. But definitely always the learning is the focus for this stage, the planning. OK, so this diagram gives you an indicator of the process for planning. The process you take it might look a little bit different to this sequence, but you might do things in a different order, or you might have different terminology, but these are the things that you need to consider as you plan. If you've got your own template you've created to document learning, you might have included some of these areas as headings. So in the first box we've got setting learning goals. It's really important that your goals are explicit and challenging. You need to have high expectations for everybody. If you don't, they won't progress. You need to be guided by what children already know and can do and what interests they bring to their learning. It's also important at this stage to consult with families and the community about their aspirations and priority for their children and incorporate these into your goals. We talk about that a little bit more later on. Also, when you're setting your learning goals, you need to know why. Why have you chosen this goal so it might be to address a individual child's learning goal. Sorry, it might be to address an individual child's need. It might be part of an ongoing project. You might be following up on input from a family, your goal might be in response to a local community event that you're expected to be part of, so you decide to use that set of goal in relation to that event. OK. Alright, it's also important when you're setting your goals to know how they link into your assessment and planning cycles. So a lot of educators will have some sort of coding system to link their goals to other documentation they have to make the cycle explicit, so what I mean by that is, if you've devised a learning goal in relation to a piece of information and observation you analysed, you need to have some sort of system of knowing that this goal relates back to that observation. OK. In box two the next step, is closely linked to your goals, and often educators will already be thinking about the content as they devised their goals. In selecting the content you need to make reference to the learning outcomes and the principles and practices. You need to make a decision on what knowledge, skills and understandings you'll be teaching the children. The other thing you could do at this stage and a lot of educators will refer to other programs, so you might be referring to the munch and move program. You might have a social skills program, an external program, or it might be a school developed one that you're following as well. OK, and then the third box we've got design your learning experiences and the learning environment. So obviously you're learning experiences are what it is that the children are going to do that will promote their learning towards the identified Goal. You might desire, decide to set up and you experience, or maybe you'll modify an ongoing learning area. You need to make a decision about is an adult going to be stationed at that experience or will it be set up and maybe an adult comes and goes. Or maybe the children are left to engage in the experience on their own. And the fourth box refers to selecting appropriate, effective learning approaches and teaching strategies. So part of this stage includes knowing how you're going to differentiate the experience. How are you going to support those that need extra support to engage or to make the experience more challenging. So in often in the preschool context differentiation occurs through the level of adult support provided. The prompting and questioning made by the adult. Also, at this stage you need to be thinking about inclusion and participation. In the learning experience you've designed will you need to make any adjustments to ensure everybody is able to join the activity and participate. And finally, as you plan, decide how you're going to know if the child has achieved the learning goal. Will you observe them? What are you expecting to see? Will you discuss what they're learning with them? What kind of things would you expect them to? How would you expect them to respond? What will they be saying or doing as their engaging. And think about also, so with formative assessment as you're observing the child and making a judgment about their learning, you could actually be modifying the experience or using questioning to provide additional challenge or additional support if that's what's needed.
OK. So we will move on to the next slide. OK, the focus here is on who leads the learning. This is quite an interesting thing and there's lots of discussion in the early childhood world about the balance, so your plans need to include a balance of child lead and initiated learning and educator led and initiated learning. And that's because we've talked about how it's important. You, as a professional, know what it's important for children to learn in preschool, but then also we need to have a child centred curriculum in which children have agency are able to make decisions about things that affect them and can actually pursue areas of interest to themselves. As Jacqui alluded to earlier important ideas and key concepts won't necessarily emerge out of children's interests, so these must be intentionally planned for and led by educators. The key thing is, though, that that's not 100 percent of your preschool day. That's a portion. A good way to balance who leads the learning is to ensure the learning environment includes a variety of ongoing learning areas and that children can choose which area they engage with which materials they use, what they're actually doing, and then simultaneously providing adult led experiences. So you might have three quarters of the group engaged in something they've chosen themselves in a learning area that you've already set up for them, and then the other children might be with you engaging in an adult led experience. The key thing is that the children have got the option to choose where it is their learning and what they're doing. Another way to balance who leads the learning is for the adult to join a child or small group in their chosen activity with the intention of addressing a specific learning goal or promoting learning more generally. In the next little section of this recording will look at some examples of that.
Jacqui Ward – Can I just jump in there to Kelly just to say that this is I think if people would embrace this and really critically reflect on this particular topic, it's quite earth shattering to sort of let go of the control to think that actually learning happens, whether or not we are sort of the ones leading and driving it. So I think it's about reconceptualising your role and that it's not all about you as the adult being this sort of driver in the driver's seat about learning, it's actually about the whole concept I guess of its intentional teaching to me is that you are going to use a variety of different ways to maximise learning, which could be environments it could be learning centres. It could be routines. There's an opportunity to revisit learning and connect learning for children. There's an opportunity for us to revisit a concept over and over in different ways throughout the day and that idea that learning happens from the minute. Well, even before, as we know, learning is happening at home, but the idea that learning is happening all the time and we don't need to think about. Sort of, that idea, and I think we talked about it last session forcing everyone to sit in a group time and thinking that's the most meaningful learning that's happening throughout the day and really, for my observations and my own experience, it feels to me that that really is probably the least amount of valuable learning that's happening. You know, there's more behaviour management going on than anything else to getting everyone to sit down, turn around, be quiet, listen to the story, that kind of thing, then there is that meaningful engagement, and I think if we empower children to take the lead a little bit particularly around project areas and investigations. We really do allow them to develop those future focus skills that we've talked about earlier as well. That idea that they can engage in a cycle of research and they can investigate and explore provocations and they can, you know, propose different ideas. They can build content knowledge when they do all of those things through things that are maybe still a formal structured learning experience, like we might think of a more traditional learning experience with children. But it's just about viewing it in a different way and viewing the role of children in a different way.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, and I think it's also good to keep in mind, general internal motivation. If a child's chosen to engage with something, they are going to have a higher chance of learning and remain focused and concentrate and be an active learner than if they've been forced to join something that they've had no input into.
Jacqui Ward – Yes, and it's also about that idea of acting in this way also sort of is a big way into contributing to children's sense of identity and sense of confidence as learners. If you encourage children to see themselves as capable, competent learners that have agency in their own learning, then these are all positive things.
Kelly Birket – Yes, I definitely agree with that. OK, so in this next slide we will just have a little look at some examples. There's many, many examples out there. These are some of the things I could think of that I've seen recently or heard of. When educators promote child directed learning, their fostering agency, they're building on the concepts of belonging, being and becoming and supporting children develop to a strong sense of identity. So just as Jacqui just said, when you promoting agency, you recognising that children have a right to make choices and decisions and are capable of initiating their own learning. So what this might look likes so example one, growing interest amongst the children to collect the cicada shells which you're appearing in the outdoor area. So the children are motivated they are keen, they are seeing their friends collect the cicada shells. They're coming and asking you for containers to put the shells in. So an educator could take advantage of this interest to develop an inquiry projects. So the educator might start by asking the children what they already know about cicadas, and then what they'd like to find out. Then the educator could plan to select appropriate learning goals and plan experiences related to what the children want to find out about cicadas. So it's very much been child initiated and it would be the type of project that would evolve, and it would change from day to day depending on how the children are responding, what they're finding out, what questions they're asking.
Jacqui Ward – A great opportunity in that example Kelly to explore that idea of environmental responsibility and life cycles, some stem work, there's lots and lots of learning in relation to the learning outcomes there with that project.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, it is the kind of project that you would document, perhaps in a mind map or you don't want to large sheet of paper with the children. In having input into what are we going to do next? Yes it could go in so many different directions. Another example might be a child who is just singing a rhyming song, and you might ask them about it, and they might say, well my older sister taught me she's learned in year one, so that's an opportunity to use the interest to introduce a focus on rhyming words. So then the educator might select a relevant learning goal and then plan activities to extend the children's rhyming skills. So in doing that, the educator is addressing literacy skill, but it's off the basis of an interest brought into the preschool by a child. OK, and example three superheroes again. A child has shown an interest in superheroes. The educators supports this interest by adding large squares of fabric to the dress up area. He or she demonstrates to the child how the fabric can be tied to create a cape and then the child and their friend put on the capes and engage in superhero make believe play and then I haven't gone into what potential learning outcomes are, but there's many that could be social and emotional. As Jacqui mentioned earlier, they could be communication skills, but the key thing is that the learning can be addressed through the interest that the child has shown in the superheroes.
Jacqui Ward – And that last one, Kelly is a really good example of how one addition to the environment in the form of these material squares could be related to learning for individuals as well as learning across the group and different children might have different learning intentions for those squares of fabric because this child using it for superhero play might be different to the way you've got the intentions you've got planned for another child.
Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely. What I do love is where some sort of added interest appears in a learning area. All of a sudden the children will swarm there because everyone wants to have a little look and a little play with this new piece of equipment so that one little fellow who initiated the interest would actually be probably responsible for a large number of children pursuing, you know that imaginative play.
OK, so the examples of what child directed learning might look like and this is an example of what adult led learning might look like. So just say, for instance, there's a learning goal devised related to learning outcome two ,children become aware of fairness, so an educator might plan a directed learning experience. So, while the children are engaging in play in the ongoing learning areas, they might set up a small group activity following a recipe to make play dough. The children take turns to add the ingredients fairly. Say for instance a cup of flour, each going around the circle with lots of language, about this is fair, we take turns, everybody has ago, and then when the play dough is made, the educator might ask the group to suggest how the play dough will be divided and shared fairly. So the focus here isn't on making play dough. The focus is on addressing the goal of children become aware of fairness. For the same goal another way that the teacher could lead the learning is to respond to the teachable moment. So across say for instance, the week or the fortnight that they are focusing on this goal during group games, they might explain why it is important that anyone who wants to join is included. They might take the opportunity to positively reinforce children showing kindness. As well as intervening play to prompt children to share resources fairly. So both are adult led or educator led learning, one a very directed learning experience and the other taking advantage of the teachable moments that crop up throughout the day. But the key thing is that the educators got in their head that this is their intention, that the children will become aware of fairness.
OK, so the documentation of your intended learning plans, so on this slide what we're talking about is the future learning plans. So generally there's no hard and fast rules for this. The written format that planning takes is absolutely a local decision. Often preschools use a variety of formats depending on what the planning is for, whether it's a whole group an individual, an ongoing project, short or long term planning. So generally people will have a plan for intentional daily planning, so this ensures that all of the adults, the educators working in the room know what the intentions are for that day and it links the planned experiences to other documentation in the planning and assessment cycles. That's what I've mentioned before that it's clear that these aren't just random experiences, they're actually part of cycles assessment and planning cycles. And as I mentioned it, the format might be a template, it might be a daily diary or journal, could be a concept or mind map. It's very much a local decision depending on the needs of the educator. Often also preschools still have a general weekly overview. Perhaps it might be a one page summary of significant planned learning and events. Usually this is to give the weaker direction, but to also share with families. It's very much a local decision you don't have to do it this. Some people might have a fortnightly overview. And then usually educators have a termly overview. It's more of a long term plan, making reference to the learning opportunities the ongoing learning areas. So what will be provided and what learning will be promoted for instance in the craft area, what's going to be in the block area and what's the intended learning during that term in the block area, for instance. Often the term the overview makes reference to the overall themes of the early years learning framework, concepts key focus areas or components. This documentation might be divided into learning outcomes or key learning areas. Whatever is going to support the educator, but it definitely gives a direction for the term.
Jacqui Ward – And I just wanted to chip in there Kelly, just to say I know you've mentioned it many many times that it's a local decisions. So it's really about making using your professional judgment to say what's manageable and what really achieves that goal that we are looking and to say is the learning visible and is it clear what intentions that I'm doing and have I covered off on all the things? Whether I'm doing this daily, weekly, termly, whatever the timeframe is that you sort of thinking about long range, short term, everyone's clear, I guess, about the intentions for learning.
Kelly Birket – Yes, I've noticed often term one, they determine the overview and will very much have a focus on developing a sense of belonging in the preschool, and definitely be addressing identity as well as learning outcome to helping the children develop connections with the other children and learning the routines and social and emotional development which really sets the scene for the rest of the year in the preschool and that, I think, is a really good use of the termly overview.
OK, so this slide is a little bit, it might not fit in here, but I just thought it's the best spot to put it to remind you that we are regulated to provide families with information about the program. The regulation doesn't use the word meaningful, but I think that is actually the key. It has to be meaningful information, again with a focus on what the learning will be, not what the equipment or the material is. So the families need to have information about the general program in a place accessible in the preschool so generally that would be on display or it might be published in a in a newsletter or music through an app. Again, a local decision. And then the second point there, this is regulation 76. Families also need to be provided with information about the content and operation of the educational program in relation to their child and their child's participation, so I'm just bringing this up now because we've just talked about you planning, your documentation of your plans. You don't want to double up, so if you can, the best way is to not have separate information to address these regulations, but write your documentation in a way that it's accessible for families and addressed the learning, and it is easily understandable.
Jacqui Ward – And I guess it raises the point there too that we are planning for individual children within our program, and when that slide earlier where you mentioned where does this come from you can sort of show the evidence of the planning cycle in your program for individuals as well as groups.
Kelly Birket – Yes, absolutely. Sometimes preschool educators are concerned about confidentiality if they're providing information about the whole program, and so using some sort of system where you don't write children's entire names, or you might provide your daily plan but not at the exact. You might have a particular individual goal you're addressing, and you've got that documented, but you know who that's for, but you don't necessarily mean to add the child's name there for display. At the end of the day when that's no longer displayed, you could add the child's name in. There's different methods to do that, but yes, you do need to be conscious of children's confidentiality, but you should also be providing the information that families need to know about the program.
OK, that brings us onto the daily timetable which is also needs to be displayed for the information of children, families and staff. It's really important to make sure your timetable is going to support your learning intentions and the best way to do this is to make sure that you've got large blocks of time when children can immerse themselves in unhurried play and you can engage with them in sustained, shared thinking. To have a long periods of uninterrupted play, you've got to minimise the amount of time where their children are expected to do the same thing at the same time or be changing to a new activity or moving to a new area or packing up, setting up, packing up. Try to keep those very minimal. You need to make sure that your timetable is flexible where needed, that it can be varied for individuals who need it, but daily timetable also supports children's agency through opportunities to make decisions, so they'll be large periods whether children can choose what it is they engage with. Also, make sure your timetable includes opportunities for the children to take responsibility for keeping the environment safe, clean and well organised.
OK, so I'll get you to pause the recording now I will just get to bring up your own preschool daily type timetables. Have a little look and reflect on it in relation to these questions. So these questions are related to the points I just discussed. Do a little bit of assessment of your timetable and just think about how your timetable is promoting learning in your preschool. Is it supporting learning or is it hindering?
OK, so now we'll move onto the what of planning. OK, will start again. You remember the process we looked at earlier the image, the first box related to selecting learning goals. So these can be short term achieved in a single experience or there might be long term and ongoing over a period of time they move from the micro to the macro. Your effective planning will support the achievement of both individual and group goals. Educators devised learning goals with reference to the early years learning framework and other support documents and programs. Group goals are often identified in collaboration with the families and the school communities to make decisions about what children should learn at preschool. There's no document that tells you, that needs to be decided locally in the preschool context. There's materials you can refer to for advice and information, but it's something that your preschool team needs to sit down and talk about. Individual goals are often identified in collaboration with the child's family and or other professionals working with the child, such as a speech therapist. If a child has a disability, often the goal will be related to an area of concern or the development of a strength. This collaboration to develop individual learning goals helps to definitely support the continuity of learning between home and the preschool. The child's more likely to achieve the goal if their families being part of the identifying the goal because they will be reinforcing at home.
Jacqui Ward – Also to Kelly, I think it's important to mention that children can be involved in their own goal setting. They’re actually quite capable of, you know, identifying areas that they would like to work on in terms of their own learning and their own skills and knowledge and understandings. And I also think just you've mentioned there that the early years learning framework, but just sort of, refining that a little bit more to say that in each one of the learning outcomes there's a section on, examples of how children demonstrate that learning in those tables, and how educators can promote that. So there's an opportunity to use that information as well to set goals for children.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, yes, definitely. I did forget about the children's input. Often they are the best people to actually know where there at and what they want to do next? OK, so I guess also what I haven't made explicit on that slide is that you do need to plan for both group goals and individual learning goals. As far as how many, I can't answer that that's not prescribed, but you definitely do need to look at each individual child as an individual and then you've got your whole group goals.
Jacqui Ward – And I think that that sort of makes sense anyway, doesn't it because there will be some common areas that you're focusing in on across all children and then there will be some individualised goals that are more contextually relevant for that child's culture identity, all sorts of different things, abilities, strengths, all sorts of things.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely. I've noticed also often when educators do speak with each family, say when they're doing parent teacher interviews. The goals that the families have for their child are often quite similar, and so then those goals can actually be addressed as group goals and that that makes it a little bit less onerous. Yes, sort of grouping the goals together and addressing it. Maybe half your families might have a particular goal so setting up group activities to address them or make it a little more manageable.
OK so on this slide we talk about integrating the individual and group learning. So the first two examples goals. Individual goals which are a modification of a group goal so that individual goal will be where there's a little bit of differentiation and so the support and expectations of that child would be different from the whole group. So example one they are goals addressing early years learning outcome framework learning outcome five. So you might have a group goal that the children will use greetings and farewells appropriately. As well as polite language, but then for a child who needs additional support, you would have a modified goal and so provide differentiation. Their goal might be that when they arrive at preschool and they greeted by an educator, they respond by looking at the educator and for that child being able to do that will be progress. So that's an example of a modified, having a group goal and then modifying it for an individual and providing that individual with some differentiation. Example two addresses outcomes two and three. So a group goal might be to participate in cooperative active group games following simple rules. Child B, who needs additional support, perhaps their goal is just to even join the group to participate in the game, but they would have with adult support and reminders of the game rules. So it's another example of providing differentiation and how an individual group goal can be addressed through a group activity. OK, and then we've got some standalone individual goals, so these might not be related to whole group goals. You might have a child who for them in term one the key thing is to be able to separate happily from mum when they arrive at preschool. Another child who's going really well in their social emotional development might be needing extension perhaps developing leadership skills and you could ask them to perhaps developing leadership skills and you could ask them to teach another child how to complete a task, perhaps. Referring another child. He's got a particular interest, perhaps their goal could be to refer to simple books to locate and sketch different types of spiders. I guess that's a little bit of the learning experience as well. The goal itself would just simply be, to find information in books. For another child, their goal might be just to rote count from one to five. So in that fourth point, for example if the child had selected to go and play in a particular area, the educator might at the right time when everyone else is engaged, they might go over and join that child in their play and take that as an opportunity to focus on counting with them using just rote counting, and maybe even then using the materials around them to focus on one to one correspondence.
OK, so here is an example of an outdoor program plan. You can see that the focus is very much on the equipment.
Jacqui Ward – Can I just draw out too just so everyone super clear, this is probably what we don't want to see in terms of plans. Example of what not to do and again, it's not necessarily that you don't. You might need this information out for educators to know what to put out, but it's definitely not an example of the planning for learning because there's no reference to learning here, there's just a reference to these are the resources that need to go out into the environment. And again, if we were to focus in on writing the learning down, we could then focus in on maybe the children selecting pieces of equipment so giving children a bit more agency and then being able to facilitate the learning that we're focusing in on through whatever. Maybe they want to do sticks and leaves on Monday instead of Wednesday. That sort of thing. And again, it's as I said, there's nothing wrong with having some provisioning and some communicating about provisioning, but not necessarily the core part of the plan.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely, I do know when I first started working at my preschool, I would spend maybe 20 minutes before the children arrived pulling out equipment from the shed, and then they would come and that's not what they wanted that day and so I decided to readjust and yes to use a system where they would arrive and suggest what it was they wanted to play with and then I joined them in their play to address the intended learning that I had.
OK, so yes very much the equipment materials or resource is the vehicle for the learning. It's not the focus or the priority. So here's another example. So in this example, the second column actually addresses why. The third column has a goal and then the final column has what the role of the educator would be or what the equipment will be. So if you look on Monday, set up the perspex easel and paints outside. So yes, that's the information everyone needs to know that the easel and paints are outside but the second and third column actually tell you why, what is the reason it's not just random because every Monday we do that, it's because there's been an interest in mixing colours. There was an observation made on the 23rd of the second and so our goal has been identified that today we will experiment with trial and error and cause and effect.
Jacqui Ward – You might want to pause and have a little look through that and again by no stretch of the imagination is this meant to be formulaic and say this is what you have to do its just about saying that this is some opportunities for you to do some critical reflecting and some thinking about what you're writing down and how you record that.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely and so yes, an equipment roster, particularly for outside isn't letting anybody know what the intended learning is or how it's come about and equipment roster is not linked at all to assessment and planning cycle, whereas something like this is, the brackets in the second and third column let you know what the links are.
OK. So I mentioned earlier that we'd addressed maximising learning, so this is I can see a typo there. Sorry about that. This is making sure that all parts of your day, the teachable moments are taken advantage of. You do need to try if possible to minimise the number of transitions, so by transitions I mean pack away, go outside, pack away, go inside pack away, go outside, their types of transitions that you need to reduce so that the children can immerse themselves in play, and that there are opportunities for educators to engage with the children. But the transitions that you have to have the necessary, such as packing up, washing your hands before you eat lunch can be used to embed learning opportunities. So have a read. These are some of the routines that you could introduce and opportunities to teach children particular things. This is just an example. You'll have your own priorities of what's important.
Jacqui Ward – I do think that routines and transitions are really good opportunity for educators to support children to transfer and adapt learning and connect learning. So if for example, you goal is around investigating concepts of engineering and balance and stability of a structure. For example, then there could be an opportunity to explore ideas around that at the lunch time where you might have a conversation about different structures and how they are stable and all those sorts of things. So there's real opportunity, I think to be thinking about planning for those times very purposefully and intentionally in order to make sure that that learning is happening, sort of all throughout the day.
Kelly Birket – Absolutely. OK, so you would have read the environment as the third teacher in the reading it discusses the Reggio Emilio approach which values the environment as a communicator, an integral part of the curriculum and as the third teacher, if you plan for your environment and you set it up well, that will allow you to work with a small group or an individual child while everybody else is engaged in meaningful experiences, everybody will be learning, but definitely that the more time and planning that goes into your environment, the greater the reward with more engagement from the children. The reading talks about preparing the indoor and outdoor environment, so they're attractive, engaging and encourage children's learning and development. Children will be able to lead their own learning whether there's an adult right there in the close vicinity or not. So just before I read these dot points, under the image there of the reading, there's a preschool learning environment self assessment task. It's just a little inventory checklist. The types of things that you need to think about in your outdoor area. So some of those are on the slide here. You need to think about providing a wide range of open ended experiences that are available in the ongoing learning areas. In your planning, you might talk about provocations or adding items of interest to those areas to stimulate interest, engagement and learning. Your environment needs to promote children's agency so that they can decide where they want to play, what materials with, with whom. You want to try to have your storage set up in a way that it's labelled so that the children don't need an adult to help them access something and that they can resource their own learning, as well as being able to pack away. And that's mentioned in this next dot point. Materials are displayed in inviting and accessible ways for children to choose from. An absolute basic, you've got adequate resources and play spaces for the children. So what that's talking about also is not at two o'clock in the afternoon shutting off half your room and saying that's packed up now and only having two options. That's not fair on the children, they need to still have options to use a wide range of materials and the whole space. In your environment, you need to make sure that the children's and families cultures are acknowledged and visible. And that is also a balance between active and quiet experiences. Did you want to add anything there Jacqui?
Jacqui Ward – I'm just mindful of the time. and thinking we probably need to keep moving along.
Kelly Birket – Excellent, OK, alrighty, so here we've listed some of the teaching strategies that are known to be effective for young children's learning. I might leave that there and move on to the next section which is bringing it all together, so a little bit of a summary now.
In the resource folder in the communities of practice channel in our team, you'll find the file that is this video, so it's been made by Annandale Public School, which is in the inner west of Sydney, so it shows a group interest which initiated indoor area in the home corner and interest in role playing at a cafe. So an educator observe the children's interest and thought about the community and that it is a cafe sort of community, and that the children enjoy having experience with their families out of preschool visiting cafes and decided to build upon that interest and that home experience to promote learning. So what she did is she modified the learning area, she thought carefully about her role in the play and in the video you'll notice there are times where the adults are very engaged and at other times you'll notice they've added a provocation, or an item to the learning area and then they withdraw to observe the learning. As you watch the video if you could look at these four questions and jot down your responses. It's not explicitly stated by the educator what her learning goals would be, but you will be able to pick up what they are and then also think about the experiences that she uses to address those learning goals. So pause now and open up the video and then think about how you respond to those questions.
Finally, as you've done for the earlier two parts of this series of five recordings. Reflect on the content of this recording today, and the implications for your planning. Think about your current processes and practices. Which do you need to maintain? Which do you need to change? And then, if desired, edit and or add additional information to your programming and planning procedure in the planning section.
OK, thanks for joining us today to talk about planning. I hope you found it interesting and it's got you thinking about some different things. And if you've got any queries, as Jacqui mentioned earlier, you could post them in our communities of practice and she or I will respond, or you could also email us at early learning.
Jacqui Ward – It was a great session. Thanks Kelly for chatting about planning today and we look forward to working on our next topic.
Kelly Birket – Great thanks Jacqui
Jacqui Ward – Thanks.
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